Celebrating Hispanic History: Juanes Parties With The Black Eyed Peas At The 2003 Latin Grammys

On Sept. 3, 2003, America witnessed a breakthrough moment for a little-known Colombian singer and guitarist. This alluring 29-year-old singer had joined forces with superstars the Black Eyed Peas in a riveting performance during the fourth annual Latin Grammys. With his long shag and signature rustic-rocker appeal, Juanes belted out the snarling pop kiss-off of his chart-topping hit, “La Paga.” He tossed off piercing bursts of staccato fretwork as the L.A. dance-rappers spat verses that embraced 50 shades of Latin women. Fergie then lent her hush-hush pipes in Spanish. 
At that time, it was a rare sight to see a Spanish-singing musician collaborating with an American act on national TV, but it was an epic performance that helped catapult Juanes to global prominence. 
“Every performance [at Latin Grammys] has sincerely been really cool,” Juanes, 47, told Pollstar, “and there have been so many [memorable] moments. When I was nominated in 2001 for Best New Artist, that was the key that opened doors to a lot of opportunities. Because of the nomination [and win], my music and career extended to many other parts of the world.” 
Juanes and The Black Eyed Peas
R. Diamond/WireImage/Getty Images
– Juanes and The Black Eyed Peas
perform a medley of “La Paga” and “Latin Girls” at The 4th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards.
But before the Colombian hit-maker became a 23-time Latin Grammy winner and a chart-topping mainstay, the new millennium introduced the world to a doe-eyed Medellín-dwelling newcomer with the street cred of a feral metal head. In 2000, Juanes (short for Juan Estevan) was breaking out fresh off his acclaimed solo debut, Fíjate Bien, the album that heralded the arrival of a new kind of Latin pop idol. With his background in hard rock and a deep appreciation for Colombian folklore, the rugged, swaggerful musician captured a sound that is nostalgic yet inventive and completely exhilarating.
No stranger to success, however, the singer/guitarist had already attained national acclaim in his home country during the ‘90s as the front-wailer of the thrash metal group Ekhymosis. This time, though, Juanes took a bet on reinventing himself, gathering the eclectic pieces of his creative past and synthesizing them into a style that is distinctively his own. 
Through his folk-tinged alt-rock brilliance and tireless philanthropic drive, Juanes proves his everlasting star power. For this reason, and many others, the Latin pop icon was celebrated as 2019’s Latin Recording Academy’s Person of the Year at The Biggest Night in Latin Music.